August 16, 2007
PEBBLE BEACH – The tournament might be new but familiar faces are competiting for the title.
The inaugural Senior Match Play Championship, a 16-player invitational event has worked its way to the final two players. Thursday’s semifinals saw Merced’s Rob Thompson win 5 and 3 over Shelton Washburn of the Meadow Club and Carl Selkirk of Butte Creek take out Lincoln Hills’ Bill Bowen, 1-up. Thompson and Selkirk have both won NCGA Senior Player of the Year awards and have built long and successful records as senior golfers.
Thompson (right), the 11-time club champion at Merced GCC, turns 61 in September and is clearly enjoying the new event. “It’s great to play after the kids (the NCGA Amateur is also being played this week), and it’s great to get to play Spyglass. It’s something we hoped for for a long time,” he said. Thompson is coming off a busy week of golf, and he sounded the senior’s lament regarding his game: “Good thing my short game was good – my back is killing me.” Indeed the 2004 State Senior champion had a hot putter in the semifinals, overcoming an early one-hole deficit via birdies on the 7th and 14th holes that allowed him to build a 4-up lead. A short birdie putt on 15 capped the win.
Carl Selkirk (below) echoed Thompson’s comments on the new tournament. “The whole reason to play more events this year was to qualify for this.” The top players from the season long NCGA Senior Points List were invited to the event.
Selkirk started 2007 strong, winning the San Francisco Senior in February. In his semifinal match, the 63-year-old was never behind, building a 2-up lead over Bowen, the 2007 NCGA Senior champion, and then holding on for a 1-up on win on the 18th hole. He relished a chance to play in the finals of the new tournament against a familiar foe: “I’ve played Robby a bunch of times – this will be fun.”
The scheduled 18-hole final match follows the start of the finals of the NCGA Amateur, at 7:15 tomorrow.